Many studies support the recurring theme that due to early childbearing, the education of teen mothers is jeopardized. Negative stereotypes towards them also prevail representing the view that teen mothers are wayward, divergent, and burdensome to society. However, there is support from the literature that the majority of them maintain career and educational aspirations. Moreover, access of pregnant minors and teen mothers to public education is guaranteed by law. With this in view, the researcher explored the educational experiences of teen mothers, particularly those who chose to enroll in and eventually graduated from an alternative public school that exclusively serves this population. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach was used in interviewing seven teen mothers who graduated from an alternative school. This qualitative method was useful in understanding subjective experiences, forming insights about individuals’ motivations and actions. The participants were selected by purposive sampling. Inductive analysis of the data indicated that attending an alternative school provided academic reengagement, structure, motivation, and a safe and caring learning environment for the participants. This study makes a contribution to the scant literature about the educational experiences of teen mothers, providing evidence that they strive to succeed and can succeed educationally when given support and access to academic services. The conclusions serve as a counter discourse to the prevailing negative perceptions towards this challenged population.


Teen Mothers, Alternative School, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Olivia Panganiban Modesto, Ed.D., is an assistant professor at the Teacher and Bilingual Education Department of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Before beginning her teaching career in higher education in the United States, she taught English in her home country, the Philippines, for eleven years. She moved to the United States in 2002 and taught English Language Arts and ESL to pregnant minors and adolescent mothers in an alternative school. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: olivia.modesto@tamuk.edu.

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